advertisement
03 January 2013

The evolution of tree-dwellers

In human evolution, walking on two legs is a big deal. It marks the debut of humans as animals who live on the ground instead of in trees.

0

In human evolution, walking on two legs is a big deal. It marks the debut of humans as animals who live on the ground instead of in trees and researchers now have evidence of when this change took place

A new study suggests that "Lucy," a member of a prehistoric primate species that appeared about 3.5 million years ago in Africa, lived in both worlds. Lucy, the researchers believe, could both climb trees and walk on the ground.

Until now, the ankles and feet of the Australopithecus afarensis indicated that the species wasn't able to climb trees easily, the study authors noted in the new report. But the researchers, led by Dartmouth College associate professor of anthropology Nathaniel Dominy, looked at modern humans in Africa and the Philippines and found that they could effectively climb trees.

This dual ability has to do with the capacity of some of the people studied to bend their feet upward toward the shin, beyond the range of motion normally seen in modern humans, helping them to climb trees, the study authors explained.

The findings suggested that hunter-gatherers like Lucy could both climb trees and walk.

The study is published in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more:

Evolution driven by the environment

Human evolution slower

More information

For more on Lucy, visit pbs.org.

(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Hello? »

SEE: Interesting facts about hearing loss Earworms: Let it go Is it bad to sleep with earplugs all the time?

SEE: Do women hear better than men?

The reason why men often appear not to be listening could be because they actually can't hear you.

Confident smile? »

Acidic drinks can harm your kids' smiles The facts on bleaching your teeth Am I taking good care of my teeth?

Why are my teeth stained?

We know the rules – brush your teeth twice a day and floss to keep them healthy. But, have you ever wondered what causes those stains that sometimes appear?